During the Cannes Film Market, Italian director and producer Cristiano Bortone announced three new projects that his company Orisa Produzioni will co-produce with Beijing-based WD Pictures. All of the new films will be focusing specifically on the growing Chinese market.
Bortone himself will direct the adaptation of the novella The Secret Talker by renowned Chinese writer Geling Yan. Set at the time of the US invasion of Iraq, The Secret Talker is a romantic thriller that tells the story of a Chinese woman, married to an American college professor, who thought she had found freedom and peace of mind until suddenly she starts receiving emails from a mysterious stalker. The obsessive relationship begins to unveil dark secrets of her past life in China. Many of Yan’s works have been adapted for film, including The Flowers of War and Coming Home, directed by Zhang Yimou. Her latest novel and script became director Feng Xiaogang’s recent movie, the highly successful Youth, which earned more than US$200 million at the Chinese box office, with the novel selling nearly one million copies. The Secret Talker will be interpreted by a major Chinese female lead and an American male star.
In early 2019, Orisa will also start the filming of The Italian Recipe. Co-written by author Alberto Simone and directed by up-and-coming Chinese talent Hou Zuxin, the romantic comedy takes place entirely in Rome during one night. It will also be co-produced by Dauphine Film Company, WD Pictures and Denmark's Zentropa, with Rai Cinema and the support of the Lazio region.
Bortone has also signed with Dutch publisher and rights holder Mercis B.V.a co-production agreement for a live-action/CGI movie based on Mercis’ world-famous character Miffy, created by Dick Bruna. The film will target a general and family audience, and it is expected to go into production in early 2020 with a leading Chinese cast. Beginning in 1955, Bruna wrote over 120 Miffy books, which have been published in 150 languages and have sold more than 85 million copies and all kinds of merchandising in more than 40 countries.